Canonicity

The Epistle of James was first explicitly referred to and quoted by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 CE), and possibly a bit earlier by Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202 CE).  However, it was not mentioned by Tertullian (160-220 CE), who was writing at the end of the second century.  The Epistle of James was included among the twenty-seven New Testament books first listed by Athanasius of Alexandria in 367 CE.  This was confirmed as a canonical epistle of the New Testament by another series of fourth century councils.  However, Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428 CE) had some doubts about it.  Its late recognition in the Church, especially in the West, may be explained by the fact that it was written for or by Jewish Christians.  Therefore, it was not widely circulated among the gentile churches.  There is some indication that a few groups distrusted the book because of its doctrine.  In Reformation times a few theologians, most notably Martin Luther in his early ministry, argued that this epistle should not be part of the canonical New Testament.  However, today Lutherans hold that this epistle is rightly part of the New Testament, citing its authority in the Book of Concord in 1580.  All mainline Christians except the twenty-seven books of the New Testament as canonical, including this Letter of James.  What do you know about the canon of the New Testament?

The Hebrew Bible

In fact, we are under the illusion that there is only one inspired Bible, when there were many versions of the inspired Bible with various interpretations.  First of all, there is the Hebrew inspired canonical Bible, the Tanakh, with the 10th century CE Hebrew Masoretic text that has its origins millenniums earlier.  The earliest known collection of these Hebrew writings was in the 2nd century BCE.  This Hebrew text had 24 books, the 5 books of the Torah, 4 books of the early prophets with 15 books of the later prophets.  The other writings were in dispute as to their canonicity.